Vietnamese husband and wife cake (Bánh phu thê or Bánh xu xê) is a traditional cake that plays a vital role in the fruit trays on wedding days or pre-engagement ceremony of Vietnamese people.
The legend of the husband and wife cake derived from different folk tales. Each region, each period has its difference, but the whole story talks about a love story between husband and wife. It is easy to understand, because two words “phu thê” means “husband and wife”, and in fact, this cake is regularly used at weddings. It is the legend, but this cake has differences between regions.
One of its unique variations is husband and wife cake from Huế. Huế husband and wife cake has a different form and flavor compared to other cakes in other regions such as Hanoi and Dinh Bang (Bac Ninh). If the cake in the North is round and flat and wrapped in yellow or red cellophane, which has a slight texture and tastes of food color; on the contrary, Hue cake is molded in small coconut leaf boxes and has a crispy, sweet and delicious flavor.
Like many traditional Vietnamese cakes, husband and wife cakes are not sophisticated in appearance but the recipe is not simple. To make a perfect and delicious cake, we need to well prepare, careful process as well as have its secrets. Let’s explore the secrets of making this cake from artisans’ recipe in Dinh Bang, Bac Ninh below.
I. Ingredients for making Husband and Wife cake
- Tapioca flour: 150g
- Cooking oil: 3 tablespoons
- White sesame: 1 tbsp
- Salt: ¼ teaspoon
- White sugar: 8 tbsp
- Grated coconut: 50gr
- Peeled mung beans: 70gr
- Vanilla: 1 teaspoon
- Pandan extract: 1 tbsp
- Baking tools: Blender, steaming cooker, cling film, cake mold
II. Steps for making Husband and wife cake:
Soak mung beans overnight, boil over low heat. When mung beans are cooked, use a spoon to pulp into flour.
When mung beans cool down, put into blender, add 4 tsps of sugar, 1 tbsp of cooking oil, ¼ tsp of salt and 1 tsp of vanilla.
After grinding, divide into small pieces, so that it fits cake molds.
Spread cooking oil on the molds. In a large pot, stir 125g tapioca flour with 4 tbsp of sugar, 1 tbsp of cooking oil, 1 tbsp of pandan extract, grated coconut and 240ml of filtered water. Keep the heat low, stir constantly, because the dough is very quick to be cooked. Stir until dough is paste, which can be a long strip, turn off the cooker.
Put 1 spoon of flour into a mold, put round mung bean, add another layer of flour, so that the dough wraps around the filling.
Steam for 5-7 minutes until the dough becomes transparent, you can see the filling.
When steaming, don’t forget to cover the steamer’s lid with a cloth to prevent the steam from falling into the cake.
Take the cakes out, cool them down, wrap the cakes with cling film.
Decorate and enjoy.
If the weather is below 20 degrees outside (don’t need to keep in the fridge), husband and wife cake can be stored for 4 to 5 days. If the weather is hot and humid, the cake can only be stored for 2 or 3 days. If you want to preserve the cake better and longer, you should keep the cake in the refrigerator, but when eating you must reheat by steaming (like sticky rice), putting in the microwave, and enjoying immediately not storing the day after.